PEARL - Preparing for extreme and rare events in coastal regions

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Context & Issues

Coastal floods are one of the most dangerous and harmful natural hazards affecting urban areas adjacent to shorelines. Rapid urbanisation combined with climate change and poor governance means a significant increase in the risk of local surface flooding coinciding with high water levels in rivers and high tide or storm surges from the sea, posing a greater risk of devastation to coastal communities. The threats need to be addressed not just in terms of flood prediction, warning and mitigation, but taking into account governance and socio-economic issues.

PEARL brings together world leading expertise in both the domain of hydro-engineering and risk reduction and management services to pool knowledge and practical experience in order to develop more sustainable risk management solutions for coastal communities focusing on present and projected extreme hydro-meteorological events. 

The project examines 14 case studies from across the EU to develop a holistic risk reduction framework that can identify multi-stressor risk assessment, risk cascading processes and strengthen risk governance by enabling an active role for key actors. The research programme links risk and root cause assessment through enhanced FORIN methodology, event prediction, forecast and warning, development of adaptive structural and non-structural strategies and active stakeholder participation. 

The project aims to develop novel technologies and methods that can improve the early warning process and its components ; it builds a pan-European knowledge base gathering real case studies and demonstrations of best practice across the EU to support capacity development for the delivery of cost-effective risk-reduction plans.